60822 Creek Road
Niles, MI 49120


Is it Spring yet??!! This winter has been crazy since the first of the year. In my area of the Mitten we have had crazy winter weather happening more so in recent weeks. We are paying the price for a mild December and mostly January. Temperatures have been all over the seasonal range and as I sit here on the 19th of February writing this, we are all over the place with temperatures. This isn't good on the fruit trees let alone animals and humans too! The snow has been all over the spectrum as well from a dusting to 12"+ in just a day! We have seen system snow and lake effect snow. At least we have had the moisture needed for the crops when the farmers start planting in the spring. Spring is around the corner just by looking at what is coming in my mailbox lately. Seed catalogs and hatchery catalogs have been coming for the last week or more! Also, the local farm store Rural King is gearing up with Chicks!! If looking at these types of catalogs and seeing cute little baby chicks do not put you in the mood for Spring I don't know what would!
This is the perfect time to be planning your gardens for the coming growing season. You need to have time to decide what you want to plant so you can be ready when the ground is ready for preparing and planting in the early summer. You want to look at the different varieties of each vegetable you intend to plant. Of course you have to be careful that you don't plan too much for the size plot you have for planting. All your plants need their space and overcrowding is not a good thing in a vegetable garden. Many plants can spread out of the area that you think is enough and crowd into another area which causes problems for other plants not being allowed to grow right. If you have a way to do research maybe you could look into doing some vertical gardening which will help you save on space.
Don't forget to plan what you would like to grow for the Agriculture Department Growing contests that are in your Program Book. Be sure to check out the Program Book for all the class details and rules. I kept all of the classes from last State Session. With our State Session in late October, it makes it hard to come up with classes for the Growing Contests in the Ag Department. I would like to hear from anyone that has some ideas for classes PLEASE!! I hope we will have a good turn out as this will give everyone in the Grange a chance to show what they can do! We only had 2 entries at the 2021 State Session. Please consider one of the classes if you have never entered in the Ag Department. Agriculture is one of the main reasons the Grange was formed.
Here are a few interesting facts that I found in the publication Michigan Agriculture 2022 edition. After a 45,000 acre potato harvest, Michigan Farmers produced nearly 17.6 million hundredweight of potatoes in 2020. Leading the U.S. in the sales value for impatiens, begonias, geraniums, petunias and Easter lilies, Michigan ranks 3rd nationally in floriculture production. Ranking 3rd in the U.S. in apple production, Michigan's 2020 apple harvest totaled 927 million pounds of the fruit.
I look forward to another great Grange year as we celebrate 150 years of the Grange in Michigan. Please keep doing your part to keep yourself, your family, your friends and your communities safe and healthy. Let's show our communities more than ever before what the Grange stands for - Faith, Hope, Charity and Fidelity!!


Wow is it Spring, Winter, Summer!!?? April sure has been a wild one so far. We had snow, we had a week of temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s and bad thunderstorms with large hail. April 23rd into the morning of April 24th we were under a freeze warning for my area of the State.
How many of you have planted anything in your gardens yet? Things that could have been planted by now would be seed potatoes, onion sets, cold crops (cabbages, etc) and I even think carrots but not sure so please check before you plant them! When planning your garden spots, keep in mind the Ag Classes that you can enter at this year’s Annual State Grange Session. Each class is open to Junior members on up to Subordinate members. There are plenty of different classes for all ages and you do not have to live in the Country to do them. I can’t wait to see what Unique containers with plantings come to State Session. Please check the Program Booklet for more details.
We are getting things done slowly this year around the little farm due to the crazy weather and busy schedules. I have yet to get the chicken coop cleaned but that is because when I have the time it is either not nice weather or I am too tired and need to just rest! The pigs were brought to the farm on April 22nd for my niece to raise and we have had 2 Boer does and my niece’s market goat here since April 11th. Chores are in full swing here besides having the chickens to gather eggs from. We aren’t getting many eggs right now as we average about 3 eggs a day from 7 hens. We plan to add more hens but also are getting ready to double the size of the coop as well!! I can’t wait! We still have our “garage” cats of all different ages and colors. We have had 3 small litters born in the garage and unfortunately, we had 2 litters born in the house! One momma had 4 babies, and each is a different color and the other momma had 3 babies. Oh brother!?! We can’t keep them all, but they are so much fun to watch grow up and play in the yard with each other.
Please be mindful that this is the time of year that the country roads and some State Highways will have slow moving farm vehicles on them. If it wasn’t for those farmers and their employees we wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to farmers’ markets or the grocery stores to get the needed foods to feed our families. Please give those big vehicles and tractors as much room as you can without causing problems for yourself or others.
Well, that is all for now. Please remember whenever possible to buy Local or Locally Grown / Made products! Local asparagus is being harvested but might have been damaged some with the freeze we had on the 23rd. I noticed while mowing the yard for the first time on the 24th that our rhubarb is at least 1 foot in height already. Our friends are still running their on-farm stores and are both doing well. You are helping small farm families most of the time. Good luck with your garden planning and happy growing until later!